A decision was recently issued in the Vermont Superior Court to resolve allegations against the Republican Governors Association (RGA) and its acceptance of more than $2,000 in contributions to the 2010 campaign fund, which violated state law.
The RGA claims an exemption from Vermont contribution limit laws because it qualifies as an independent-expenditure-only-committee. The Attorney General's office, however, did not agree with this exception stating that RGA did not fall in that category.
Superior Court ruled in favor of the State in 2011, but asked for additional review of the case due to recent federal case decisions. Review of the case found that RGA and its Vermont PAC, Green Mountain Prosperity were one and the same. They had no seperate board or staff, and all funds were controlled by RGA.
“If a PAC wants to receive unlimited contributions, it must be functionally distinct from PACs that contribute to candidates,” Attorney General William Sorrell said. “Mere separation in name only is insufficient protection against the possibility that funds may flow through the ‘independent’ group to candidates.”
The campaign finance law was revised in 2014 and now specifically states that an independent-expenditure-only PAC cannot run jointly with a political party or with a PAC that makes financial contributions to candidates.